Fall is upon us here in the North Carolina mountains, and few things feel more appropriate than watching the Anne of Green Gables series all over again. I love to slowly work my way through them, doing a little needlework as I go (insert old lady emoji here).
Anne has always felt like a kindred spirit. That’s why when I saw Lorilee Craker‘s memoir recently, I knew it was a must-read for me. This sweet and happy book looks at what it means to be an orphan and what it means to be found, and maybe no one is as fit to tell us about that as Lorilee Craker. An accomplished writer, a lover of the Anne of Green Gables stories, an adopted orphan herself, and an adopter of a little ray of light, Phoebe, from Korea. (Yes, of course I had to read this, being that my oldest daughter is also named Phoebe!)
Using the story of Anne Shirley, Craker weaves in and out her own experiences growing up in an adoptive family, experiencing the beauty and tender ties of love in that home, growing older and seeking to meet her biological parents, finding unexpected glory and heart break there. She also connects these with her own story of adopting her daughter, Phoebe, from Korea. She connects the threads of these three orphan stories with humor, vulnerability and transparency. Reading this book definitely woke me to things I take for granted, such as knowing my family history and roots. Having a sister-in-law who is adopted and hearing her occasionally speak about her uncertain family roots, I realized how easily I brush these comments off without registering how huge this can be, especially as one becomes a mother. How often you must look at your child’s face and find unfamiliar features, trying to find connections everywhere to your past enshrouded in a quiet fog. Craker examines all the nuances of the word “orphan,” both positive and negative. It gave me a new tenderness toward those who can call themselves orphans, those who know intimately what it feels like to be rejected, left behind, bereft. It also warmed my heart to the beauty of what it means to be adopted, to be taken in and called blood by those are not your blood. I don’t know what it’s like to be an orphan, but I do know what it’s like to be adopted. The Scriptures tell us that those of who are in Christ (“Christians”) have been adopted into the family of God (Eph. 1:5).
In Craker’s book, you find yourself at one moment on the red roads of Prince Edward Island, another moment in the bustling bright streets of Korea, the misty shores of British Colombia (where she meets her birth mother) and the quaint walls of a Mennonite home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Whimsical at times, haunting and heartbreaking at others, this is a beautiful story that traces the love between mother and daughter, a love that transcends blood and family lines, a love that ultimately finds its source and its home in Jesus. I recommend it to you as a lovely fall read.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.